By Tim Goode
The Menlo-Atherton football team got a big boost from its defense, which forced six turnovers in a 30-0 nonleague victory over visiting Saratoga in a season-opening game Saturday, Sept. 6, in Atherton.
Defensive back Abraham Simon, the smallest Bear at 5-5 and 120 pounds, recovered two fumbles in the first half -- the second of which he returned for a touchdown and a 14-0 M-A lead.
Simon grabbed the ball after an errant pitch from the 38-yard line eluded the hands of two Saratoga players and was pushed by a couple of more Bears before Simon could secure the ball on a big hop at the 3. Two steps later Simon had the first defensive touchdown of his young career.
"I was trying to fall on it and it took a bounce in my favor," Simon said. "It was just good luck."
M-A's offense struggled in the first half, gaining 48 yards of total offense, but Saratoga's propensity for turnovers kept the Falcons from threatening.
The Bears began clicking in the second half, forcing two more turnovers and making seven tackles for losses. M-A quarterback Turner Baty took advantage of both turnovers, throwing a 5-yard touchdown pass to Sam Knapp after a Knapp interception, and then hitting David McLaughlin for a 57-yard completion on an ensuing fumble recovery.
That pass play set up a 5-yard run by Vaughn Smith -- his second score of the game. Smith rushed for 72 yards on 14 carries.